By midday Thanksgiving, Love Field's 4,000 parking spaces weren't enough. Each one had been sold and parked in, leaving those arriving to take afternoon flights circling hopelessly or forced to go home and take DART back to the airport. The influx of cars can be blamed on more than just the holiday; with the elimination of the Wright Amendment, there are 36 more flights leaving Love Field every day than there were at this time last year.
Next year, the number of flights leaving the airport each day is expected to increase even further, from 148 daily departures to 190. Basically, as bad as Thanksgiving was, the major travel holidays next year will be even worse. Despite a 2008 forecast that predicted the airport had enough spaces to meet demand through 2018, Love Field needs more spaces -- or a major change in culture that makes people previously unwilling to take the train willing to do so -- as soon as possible.
Monday afternoon, airport officials will unveil their plan to add 4,000 new spots to Love Field. Across from Ticket Hall, the airport plans to build a massive, five-level garage with enough parking spaces to accommodate the millions of additional travelers it expects to host in the coming years.
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Monday's presentation is the beginning of the process that will end in the garage getting built if the airport gets its way. Love Field needs the city to sign off on the project, so it can get sell the bonds that will pay for construction.
If everything goes exactly according to plan, the parking headaches should be over just in time for Festivus 2017.